Hagia Sophia: The Iconic Landmark of Istanbul, Turkey

Located in the heart of Istanbul, Turkey, Hagia Sophia is an iconic landmark that has stood the test of time. Built in the 6th century, Hagia Sophia is a marvel of Byzantine architecture and a symbol of Constantinople’s past grandeur. Today, the building is a museum and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Istanbul. From its incredible history to its amazing facts and things to do, Hagia Sophia is a must-see for any traveler.

History of Hagia Sophia

The original Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I as a cathedral and seat of the Orthodox Patriarchate. The building was designed by the famous architects Anthemius of Tralles and Isidore of Miletus. It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, and its grandeur was a testament to the power and wealth of the Byzantine Empire.

In 1453, the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople and turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque. During this time, the building was altered to accommodate Islamic worship, with the addition of four minarets and a mihrab (a niche in the wall that indicates the direction of Mecca).

In 1935, the building was converted into a museum by the Republic of Turkey and has since become a popular tourist attraction. The building was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.

Amazing Facts About Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a marvel of engineering and a testament to the ingenuity of its architects. Here are some amazing facts about this iconic landmark:

• Hagia Sophia is the world’s oldest surviving domed structure.

• Its massive dome is 55 meters in diameter and is supported by 40 arches.

• The building is adorned with over 40,000 square meters of mosaics, including one of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.

• Hagia Sophia is home to the largest collection of Byzantine art and artifacts in the world.

• The building has been damaged by earthquakes, fires, and looters over the centuries, but its structure has remained largely intact.

Things to Do at Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Istanbul. Here are some of the best things to do at this iconic landmark:

• Take a guided tour of the building and learn about its history.

• Admire the stunning mosaics and frescoes that adorn the walls and ceilings.

• Visit the Treasury, which houses a collection of priceless artifacts.

• Climb up to the upper gallery and take in the views of Istanbul.

• Visit the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque.

• Shop in the nearby Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest markets in the world.

Hagia Sophia is a must-visit destination for any traveler to Istanbul. Its incredible history, amazing facts, and things to do make it a truly unique and unforgettable experience.